ZIMTA ventures into agriculture

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THE Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) has acquired a farm in Bulawayo in a bid to improve teachers’ agricultural skills and delivery to students, an official has said.
The farm formerly called Hlekweni Friends Rural Service Centre has been renamed Hlekweni Training Institute.
After conducting a survey, the association found out that besides imparting agricultural skills, many teachers were beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme.
Many are plot holders owning at least five hectares of land in both communal and commercial settings thus the need for agricultural skills to enhance their production capacity.
In an interview with The Patriot, ZIMTA chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu said, the institute will assist teachers mainly by equipping them with agricultural knowledge harnessing the concept of education with production.
“We believe it is a philosophy that can inculcate the dignity of work and creation of wealth,” said Ndlovu.
“That is the whole objective of giving skills to people, the very reason why we established ZIMTA Hlekweni Training Institute.”
Ndlovu said the vast number of teachers owning pieces of land will have an opportunity to enroll at the vocational centre to acquire more agricultural skills.
“We plan to start enrolment next year and we are appealing to every teacher to apply as soon as the vacancies are advertised,” he said.
“Places will be limited as the institution can only accommodate 60 to100 people.”
Ndlovu said teachers will be in a position to effectively and profitably use their land after receiving training resulting in them not solely relying on their monthly salaries for sustenance.
“Teachers must not just rely on the fixed Government salary,” he said.
“We are offering various courses in the field of agriculture at Hlekweni and the practical agricultural skills will turn them into best farmers and business people outside the teaching profession.”
The farm is expected to generate income that will support the operations of the association and possibly reduce membership subscriptions.
Presently, members pay monthly subscription fees of US$10.
The association plans to increase the agricultural and animal husbandry activities already happening at the farm.
Other vocational skills on offer at the college include building, woodwork, carpentry and welding which ZIMTA says will also train psychomotor skills development for practical subjects’ teachers in high schools.
The 718-hectare farm was established in 1967 as a one stop training institution for vocational skills development.
Its core business was to empower primary school leavers unable to proceed to secondary school or secure formal employment.

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